Most of us have gone through the adolescent horror of acne. In most of us, it leaves very little telltale signs. However, in some of us, acne can be a persistent problem and can leave scars. These acne scars may be very little, or they can be very deep and extensive. Acne scar treatment can help remove any scarring left on the skin.
What makes an acne scar so much more visible than regular scarring is that it causes a depression in the skin. This contour change reflects light differently than a smooth surface and makes the acne scar more noticeable. There are numerous techniques that Plastic Surgeons can use to try and minimize these surface contour abnormalities such as chemical peels, dermabrasion, excision, injectables, subcision and laser resurfacing. All of these techniques physically smooth the indentation, and some even cause the body to add collagen to the skin, thus helping smooth the contours.
Dr. Schneider’s Approach
The key for the Plastic Surgeon is knowing what, and how much, is necessary to produce a beautiful result where the patient is satisfied while preventing any unnecessary aftereffects such as bleaching of the skin, scarring, or unevenness. For most of our acne scar patients, a 50% improvement in the scarring with each treatment is achievable. Dr. Schneider likes to review with each patient what all the acne scar treatment options are.
For significant acne scars that the patient wants optimally improved, Dr. Schneider will often recommend CO2 Laser Resurfacing. He will also oftentimes combine this with subcision and fat injections.
Since the early 1990’s, Dr. Schneider has performed laser resurfacing on over 3000 patients. All acne scar treatment procedures are done in our AAAHC certified surgery center.
Subcision and Fat Injections
The acne scar is attached to the underlying tissue, and this attachment often will not allow the acne scar to recontour as the laser resurfacing is performed. To maximize acne scar improvement, Dr. Schneider utilizes subcision to release the acne scar. This involves inserting a small needle under the scar and then using the needle tip like a scalpel to release the underlying attachments. This creates a space. Dr. Schneider will then inject a small amount of the patient’s own fat into the space that helps prop up the scar, and helps the laser resurfacing achieve a better contour.
CO2 Laser Resurfacing
The CO2 Laser Resurfacing acne scar treatment is performed with the patient sedated and takes approximately one hour to perform. The areas of acne scarring are marked, then subcision and fat injections are performed where necessary. Next, Dr. Schneider passes the laser over the skin. The outer layer of the skin is removed during this process. Usually, the entire face is treated to blend the treatment areas together.
At the conclusion of the acne scar treatment, a thin layer of vaseline is applied to the skin which which seals the nerve endings and provides a moisture barrier so that the patient is comfortable. It takes approximately 10 days for full healing to occur. During that time, patients will clean their skin and apply vaseline, several times a day.
Is CO2 Laser Resurfacing Right for You?
Acne Scar Laser Resurfacing is a very significant step for patients who are bothered by acne scars. Dr. Schneider does not usually recommend this treatment for patients with very minor acne scarring. However, it is ideal for patients seeking significant smoothing of their acne scars.